Tuesday, September 18, 2007

35. Garden Review: Kyu Shiba-rikyu Garden (Minato-ku)

The Kyu Shiba-rikyu Garden was built on reclaimed land in the Edo period. The 4th Shogun, Tokugawa Ietsuna gave the land to Lord Okubo Tadatomo to use as his Tokyo residence. It went through a variety of owners until it was sold to the Imperial Household Agency in 1875. The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 destroyed all the buildings and nearly all the trees. The garden was restored, and in 1924 it was opened to the public. It is one of two surviving feudal era Japanese gardens in Tokyo.The Kyu Shiba-Rikyu Garden is a landscape garden built with a circular walking trail so that visitors can enjoy it from a variety of angles. The garden's focus is Sensui Pond, which takes up almost 1/4 of the total area of 43,070 m. Originally it was a salt water pond, but was converted to fresh water after additional land reclamation nearby. Many hungry carp now make the pond their home. In addition, there are man-made hills, a large stone lantern, islands connected by bridges, grassy picnic areas, and a lovely wisteria trellis.
The downside of the garden is that is is surrounded by a number of tall buildings, and a particularly ugly neon coffee billboard. But, it is always quiet, is well tended, and the entrance fee is only 150 yen. I do find it to be a pleasant oasis,and I especially recommend stopping here if you are walking to Hinode Pier from Hamamatsu or Daimon Station.

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